J-K LG Sinha orders probe into stampede at Vaishno Devi shrine

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Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday said a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the stampede at the famous Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in which at least 12 people were killed and 20 others injured.

The Lt Governor said he spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and briefed him about the incident. “Hon’ble Prime minister has assured all the help,” the office of the LG tweeted.

According to officials, the stampede that occurred in the early hours of Saturday near gate number three outside the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine atop Trikuta hills was triggered by a heavy rush of devotees who have come to pay their obeisance to mark the beginning of the New Year.

In a series of tweets, the office of the Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor said, “Deeply pained at the loss of lives due to stampede at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine. My condolences to the families of the deceased & prayers with the injured.”

“Spoke to Hon’ble Home Minister Shri Amit Shah Ji. Briefed him about the incident. A high level inquiry has been ordered into today’s stampede. The Inquiry Committee will be headed by Principal Secretary (Home) with ADGP, Jammu and Divisional Commissioner, Jammu as members,” he said.

Lt Governor Sinha announced an ex gratia relief of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of each deceased and Rs 2 lakh to each injured.

“Deeply pained at the loss of lives due to stampede at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine. My condolences to the families of the deceased & prayers with the injured,” Sinha said.

“Ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh each would be given to the next of kin of those who lost their lives due to stampede and Rs 2 lakh to injured. Shrine board to bear the cost of treatment of injured,” tweeted Sinha, who is also chairperson of the board. (Agencies)